This one is a bit of a trick to explain. If you go four owners back, someone decided that a Kawasaki KLR650 would be a great tug for a sidecar. And maybe they saw a Russian Sputnik sidecar in all its 1980’s-style glory and realized the pair would be a fine match. And then they threw away the Sputnik’s original frame and made their own sidecar frame, with an emphasis on off-road durability. And they used the heaviest steel tubing you could imagine strapping to a motorcycle.
During the time the fourth owner had this rig, the aftermarket device that was supposed to make the balance shaft chain tensioner last forever failed, turning the engine into a handsome boat anchor. The fourth owner sourced a 2009 KLR650 engine, then had his local mechanic modify the engine to 719cc. While we have not confirmed this for ourselves by disassembling it and measuring, we do trust his honestly on the matter. If you know KLR650’s, the “Eagle Mike” sticker on the engine should tell you something about the provenance of the engine upgrade parts.
During our care of this bike, the tiny leaf spring on the gearshift mechanism failed, so we got to replace that after getting stuck in first gear a few blocks from home. So now it’s got a new spring, new gaskets on the right engine cover, plus new coolant and oil.
We’ve been riding it problem-free ever since, and will have 100+ shakedown miles on it before the time of sale.
Some of those shakedown miles have involved riding “too fast” on the roughest roads we can find in Nashville. Damn if the suspension work on this rig doesn’t make it a genuinely proper dual-sport rig. Might be a bit squishy on the pavement, but it soaks up the bumps and keeps going with no drama. Speaking of “too fast,” we have noted that the bike is very stable at interstate speeds up to at least 80 mph, but if anyone asks we were definitely testing that on a closed course. This rig will definitely keep up with your favorite traffic.
The sidecar wheel is the front wheel from a BMW F650, along with the F650’s brake. The sidecar brake is set up to share its hydraulic circuit with the KLR’s original rear brake. This is a design flaw, in our opinion, because the two brakes are mismatched, and if you connect the sidecar brake and then use the brake pedal, the whole rig makes a pretty hard right, requiring significant steering input to keep it straight during your stop. Accordingly, we have disconnected the sidecar brake. We’re pretty sure that the best fix for this is to add a proportioning valve to give the sidecar brake caliper less pressure than the KLR rear brake. It does stop slower without the sidecar brake, but it takes far less steering input to stop in a straight line. Everything is a trade off, and we found this to be the better trade off for now.
$7,300 as-is, stock #9018.